To refresh: Legislators last year passed House Bill 2391 (by Rep. Jerry Madden, R-Richardson, and carried by Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo) as a means to ease jail overcrowding, making a host of minor criminal violations eligible for citation and release, as opposed to a direct ticket to the county jail for adults in their "home county" at the time of the violation – including possession of up to 4 ounces of pot. The Travis Co. Sheriff's Office immediately embraced the new law. In 2006, some 7,000 people were booked into jail for offenses listed under the new law; making those defendants eligible for cite-and-release would save the county about $1.2 million. Last fall, APD said they were still "reviewing" the new law to decide whether it would be jiggy with APD policy.
That review is apparently complete, and the verdict is in: It's a no-go for pot cite-and-release within city limits. According to APD Cmdr. Sean Mannix, the department decided against following the provisions of the law because APD actually operates in three counties – Travis, Williamson, and Hays, where portions of the city now lie – and in two out of the three counties, officials have decided not to honor the new law. Thus, only Travis has "embraced the practice," Mannix said. In order to "maintain a consistent" policy citywide, APD has decided to side with WilCo and Hays (which together cover only a small portion of the city) and to diss Travis County.